Islam provides a comprehensive list of the rights of both spouses in a marriage. The rights of a husband and wife in Islam are clearly laid out for us. There is no injustice in our religion and both men and women have been granted appropriate rights according to Allah’s infinite Wisdom. Both genders enjoy a specific set of rights that are in complete harmony with their respective roles in marriage.
Spouses should always be mindful of each other’s rights and strive to fulfill them to the best of their ability. One must never neglect the other’s rights or disregard his or her duties in the relationship. Islam ensures that both men and women are aware of their roles in marriage. Thus, one simply needs to possess the correct knowledge in this regard and act upon it. Today, we shall focus on the husband’s rights in Islam.
“And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquility in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought.” (Quran, 30:21)
“And due to the wives is similar to what is expected of them, according to what is reasonable. But the men have a degree over them [in responsibility and authority]…” (Quran, 2:228)
A husband’s rights and a wife’s duties in marriage
“Men are in charge of women by [right of] what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend [for maintenance] from their wealth…” (Quran, 4:34)
Both genders have different roles in marriage because of the different attributes they possess. Women are mainly tasked with obeying and supporting the husband and looking after children. They play a major role in taking care of the household.
Men have been granted authority over their wives and placed in charge of providing for and looking after them. Their role is that of the provider and protector of the family. Consequently, they have been apportioned greater and more comprehensive rights in marriage.
Obedience to the husband and fulfillment of his needs
The wife is obligated to obey the husband at all times. The only exception is if her husband commands her to disobey Allah and do something that violates Islamic teachings. In such cases, obeying the husband is impermissible. Obedience to the husband is obligatory, but obeying Allah and His Messenger (PBUH) takes precedence above anything else.
Since men have been placed in charge of women, it is natural that women have to obey their husbands. For the man to appropriately fulfill his authoritative role as the custodian of the wife, her cooperation, respect, and compliance are essential.
“If I were to command anyone to prostrate to anyone other than Allaah, I would have commanded women to prostrate to their husbands. By the One in Whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, no woman can fulfil her duty towards Allaah until she fulfils her duty towards her husband…” (Ibn Majah)
It is also compulsory to fulfill the husband’s sexual desires and comply with him in this regard. This is a key aspect of marriage as it encourages bonding and helps prevent unlawful temptations. Hence, the wife is not permitted to reject her husband in bed without any valid reason, such as menstruation or mandatory fasting. There is a Prophetic Hadith that contains a strict warning indicating the urgent necessity of adhering to this principle.
“When a man invites his wife to his bed and she does not come, and he (the husband rights) spends the sight being angry with her, the angels curse her until morning.” (Muslim)
Furthermore, she’s not even allowed to keep a voluntary fast without her husband’s permission when he is present.
“A woman may not fast a day – other than in the month of Ramadan – while her husband is present, except with his permission.” (At-Tirmidhi)
Not allowing anyone to enter the house without the husband’s permission
The wife should not permit anyone, especially someone disliked by her husband, to enter the house without obtaining her husband’s permission. This is one of the noble etiquettes of being a righteous, dutiful wife.
The Prophet (PBUH) said: “It is not lawful for a woman to observe (voluntary) fasting without the permission of her husband when he is at home; and she should not allow anyone to enter his house without his permission.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
And: “Your rights over your women are that they should not let anyone whom you dislike sit on your bed and they should not let anyone whom you dislike enter your house…” (At-Tirmidhi)
The wife must guard her chastity in her husband’s absence
The wife is commanded to protect her chastity when her husband is not present. She ought to remain modest and avoid any inappropriate interactions. In addition, she has to protect his children and property in his absence. She must never deceive her husband and is compelled to uphold his rights in all circumstances.
“So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in [the husband’s] absence what Allah would have them guard…” (Quran, 4:34)
The wife must serve her husband
She has to look after his needs and perform the household duties that are required of her. Examples of such tasks are: Cooking, cleaning, taking care of their children and raising them in an Islamic way, teaching them good manners, etc.
Concealment of his secrets
She is not permitted to divulge any private matters of her husband to others. This can damage his reputation and harm the trust between the spouses. Additionally, secret matters concerning their relationship, such as sexual issues should not be revealed to anyone else.
It is critical to maintain secrecy and ensure she does not let her husband down by exposing private matters. The exposing of sexual matters, in particular, has been fervently condemned by our Prophet (PBUH). He likened it to a male and female devil having intercourse in public.
Asmaa’ bint Yazeed narrated from the Prophet (PBUH): “Perhaps a man mentions that which he did with his wife, and perhaps a woman informs of what she does with her husband?!” So the people were silent, so I said, “Yes, by Allaah, O Messenger of Allaah! The women certainly do that, and the men certainly do that.” He (صلّى الله عليه وسلّم) said, “Then do not do so, since that is just like a male devil meeting a female devil upon the way, and he has intercourse with her while the people are watching.“ (Ahmad)
She should maintain a pleasing appearance for her husband rights
It is important for the wife to look after her appearance for the sake of her husband. She should always take care to present herself in a good manner, making an effort to beautify herself and smell pleasant. It’s a vital element of marriage as it shows consideration for her spouse, making an effort to please him. Thus, while the husband works hard to provide comfort and safety for his wife, she should strive to be a good companion who brings him happiness.
“It was said to the Messenger of Allah: ‘Which woman is best?’ He said: ‘The one who makes him happy when he looks at her, obeys him when he commands her, and she does not go against his wishes with regard to herself nor her wealth.’” (An-Nasa’i)
The wife should be grateful and not spend from their wealth without asking him
A wife should always appreciate the efforts and sacrifices her husband makes for her sake. She ought to treat him well, remain obedient, and always speak to him in an honorable manner. Failing to live up to these requirements could lead to ungratefulness on her part, which can lead to Hell. Moreover, she should not spend from their wealth without his approval.
The Prophet (PBUH) said: “I was shown the Fire and found that the majority of its inhabitants were women, due to ingratitude. It was said: “Is it that they disbelieve in Allaah?” He said: They are ungrateful to their husbands and deny the good they do. If you were to treat one of them well always, and she then saw something (displeasing) from you she would say: ‘I have never seen any good from you. ‘” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
And: ”It is not permissible for a woman to give a gift except with the permission of her husband.“ (Abu Dawud)
The wife should not seek a divorce without a suitable reason
Allah the Most Merciful has made Islam an easy religion to follow. The rights and responsibilities of both spouses are laid out in detail, guiding us in our relationships.
Nevertheless, even after following Islamic teachings to the best of one’s ability, one can never guarantee a successful marriage. Islam, as a religion of wisdom, recognizes these realities of life; hence, divorce is deemed permissible. However, it is impermissible for the wife to ask her husband rights for a divorce without a legitimate reason.
“Whichever woman asks her husband for divorce without a strong reason – then the fragrance of Paradise will be forbidden for her.“ (Abu Dawud)